Omnivore's Hundred

This is a fun list I picked up from Laura, the Fearless Chef. I’ve put the items I haven't eaten in bold.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (No, but I HAVE seen and smelled it. Foul!)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (All!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare/Rabbit
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Not bad! This is a fun list to go through -- it certainly does cover a wide spectrum... And give me some ideas! God, I love food.

How about you?


Baby Boo's New Cradle

I found this beautiful vintage cradle at goodwill for $3. It was missing the matress support and looking a bit too...brown... for my taste, so I cut a plywood bottom and added a bit of white and sunshine yellow paint.

A yard of white eyelet fabric and ribbons for a "bumper" to keep baby's arms inside and cold drafts out, and here we are: the perfect little cradle to lie next to my bed (which is a platform style bed and very low to the ground.) All set for midnight nursings this winter :)

The bumper was very easy to make: cut the yard of fabric in half lengthwise, fold each half in half again and sew inside out legthwise to make long "tubes." Turn the right way out, turn under the unfinsished edges and sew the tubes together to make a huge band. The add two ribbons at the corners, top and bottom.

Then, I cut down the vinyl covered foam pad from our son's changing table which we never used (it's about 1-inch thick) and sewed the unfinished edges. All in all, the entire cradle project took about an hour.


End of Summer...

and straight into fall!


Where fantasy and reality meet... 'Gollum-like' monster emerges from lake

A very strange (and rather sad, I think) story I read this week, courtesy of Metro UK news...

'Gollum-like' monster emerges from lake

"A slimy, glob-like creature dubbed Gollum has terrified children after it slithered out of a lake and clambered over the rocks towards them.
The young teenagers were playing by the waterfront in a Panama lake near Cerro Azul when the bald beast emerged from a cave behind a waterfall. They started screaming as it shuffled out "as if to attack them".
Locals told Panama news the monster was like "Gollum from Lord of the Rings".
One said: "I have only seen that creature once before - and it was in the Tolkien film."
But in a "desperate bid to defend themselves" four children grabbed rocks from the beach and hurled them at the beast.
Having killed it they picked up the body and tossed it back into the lake, before fleeing.
Disbelieving parents went to investigate and were amazed to see the body had washed up on the shore. It has since been picked apart by buzzards.
Melquiades Ramos, an expert at the National Environmental Authority said, he will investigate the animal.
Zoologist Jacobo Arauz said it was likely the creature was likely to be a mutation and suggested it could be a form of sloth."


Baby Pinafores

Even though my last ultrasound did not show the sex of my baby-to-be, I am leaning toward girl, so I am having fun sewing with my new thrift-store Sears/Kenmore machine ($20!) and made a couple little baby pinafores from scrap material I had. The purple/yellow one is your basic pinafore, ties on both sides and at shoulders, "risque" because it will show the onesie on the sides (and that cute cloth diaper she'll be wearing!). The red one goes on over the head, with straps that cross in the back, is a little longer than the purple one, and the front is wider than the back so that when you tie the straps in the back the sides are covered. Both pinafores have little matching pockets in the front, too. I just adore them!

All the foods I am craving are polar opposites of the ones I wanted as a son, and I've had a few intuitive friends second my own suspicions that it is a girl. Plus, the other 5 pregnant women I know, two of whom are related, are all having boys, so I figure the odds are with me on this ;)


Zesty Lemon Balm Jelly

I have an abundance of lemon balm on my property that I generally make into 14" smudge sticks for clearing and uplifting the energy on properties (available at earthlodgeherbals.com/smudge.htm) but this week I harvested so much I decided to make some super lemony jelly using a lemon balm infusion. It turned out fantastic, here's the recipe:

*Zesty Lemon Balm Jelly*
3.5 cups of strong lemon balm infusion
(steep fresh herb in boiling hot water for 30+ minutes, strain)
1/2 cup lemon juice
Zest from 2 lemons
1 package of pectin
4.5 cups granulated sugar
Prepare SIX 8oz. jars and lids by placing in a bowl/sink of very hot/boiled water. Sealing rings do not need to be warmed.
Bring the first four ingredients to a boil together in a large pot.
Add the sugar all at once, return to a hard boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into jars. Wipe rims, place lids and rings on jars, sealing "finger-tip" tight.
Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove lid from canner and wait 5 minutes before removing jars from water. Allow to cool for 12 -24 hours before removing rings for pantry storage.


Cash for Clunkers Replaces 700,000 Vehicles with More Efficient Models

My husband is a mechanic, and we were both a little leery of the Cash for Clunkers program, particularly because it seemed like the clunkers were being wasted as a resource for people that can't afford new vehicle parts. Also I simply did not trust most people to really trade up to better mileage and effeciency. But lo and behold -- the program seems to have been a real success! As cited in the article below, the majority of truck owners traded their trucks in for cars, even the ones who were trading in heavy work vehicles. The reults also send a pretty clear message to American auto makers about what the public wants in a vehicle with their top-ten list, so perhaps they will pay attention this time and begin producing more effecient, long-lasting vehicles. Here is the rest of the article:

(From EERE Network News)

The popular Cash for Clunkers program ended its run on Aug. 25, and the program is estimated to have removed nearly 700,000 inefficient vehicles from U.S. roads.
Officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), the program achieved greater fuel economy gains than originally expected, as consumers chose more fuel-efficient models than were required by the program.
In fact, the average fuel economy of the traded-in vehicles, which were crushed, was 15.8 miles per gallon (mpg), while the average fuel economy of the newly purchased vehicles was 24.9 mpg — a gain of 9.1 mpg, or 58 percent.
That figure makes sense for trade-ins of old cars for new cars, because those trade-ins earned the maximum rebate with a 10 mpg increase in fuel economy. However, analysts expected trade-ins of light trucks (sport utility vehicles, pickups and vans) for new light trucks to drag down the fuel economy gains, as such trade-ins could earn the maximum rebate with a fuel economy gain of only 5 mpg. But according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), such truck-for-truck trade-ins were less common than expected, as 84 percent of the program participants traded in trucks, but only 41 percent purchased new trucks, which means that more than half of the truck owners traded their vehicles in for a car.
The results are even starker for heavier vehicles, as 8,134 heavy work trucks were traded in, but only 2,408 new heavy work trucks were purchased, and 116,909 large pickups or vans were traded in, but only 46,838 new ones were purchased. The fuel economy of the newly purchased cars was also 19 percent greater than the average fuel economy of all new cars available in the United States.
The CARS program allowed dealers to start providing rebates to customers on July 1, even though the program didn’t officially start until July 24. The billion-dollar program proved so popular that Congress had to quickly approve an additional $2 billion for the program, which was approved by President Obama on Aug. 7.
Despite the extra funding, the funds went quickly, and the DOT announced on Aug. 20 that the program would end on Aug. 24. Dealers had until the evening of Aug. 21 to submit their paperwork, and the results demonstrate that the DOT timed it pretty well, with rebate applications worth $2.877 billion submitted to the agency, leaving only $123 million in rebate funds unaccounted for. The program proved so popular that the DOT changed the rules, allowing people to buy cars even if the dealer was sold out on that model.
According to DOT, the top vehicles traded in under the program include sport utility vehicles, pickups and vans from Ford, Jeep, Dodge and Chevrolet.
The top 10 new vehicles purchased include cars from Toyota Motor Sales, American Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor America, Nissan North America and Ford Motor Co., with the Ford Focus and Ford Escape both making the top 10 list. The increased demand caused Ford to boost its production of the two vehicles at its assembly plants in Kansas City, Mo., and Wayne, Mich. Ford experienced year-to-year sales increases in both July and August. Toyota had three vehicles — the Corolla, Camry and Prius hybrid — on the top 10 list, and the company estimates that it accounted for nearly a third of the fuel savings achieved by the program.
Honda saw a near doubling of its sales of the fuel-efficient Fit, and the DOT notes that Honda will increase production at two plants in Ohio and one in Alabama. General Motors Corp. (GM) also experienced gains from the CARS program, attributing it to a 159 percent year-to-year increase in August sales of the Chevrolet Aveo, a 13.8 percent increase in Chevy Cobalt sales, a near doubling in Chevy Equinox sales, and a 26 percent boost in Chevy HHR sales. GM plans to increase production to restock inventories. Chrysler also credited the program with increased sales and has raised its production by 50,000 vehicles.


The Buzz about Germs

Everywhere I go, every mother I talk to, I am hearing alot about the flu, and "the vaccine."

"Should we get it? Should little baby K get it? Should grandma get it?"

People are calling their doctors and getting frustrated and angry that they if they can't get it. One mother I know is switching doctors because the doctor suggested that her baby will be fine, as long as she doesn't let anyone touch or lean over the stroller when she is out shopping.

But here's the thing. There currently IS no vaccine for the Novel H1N1 Flu. Not yet. The CDC website is very clear about that. Companies are working on it, and it "may" be ready in the fall. And once it exists, it won't be available until after a month or so of the minimum required testing, to make sure it at least doesn't kill people outright (so testing for long-term effects, or effects on babies in utero.) All flus, including the novel strain people are so worried about, is spread primarily through direct contact with an infected surface, sneezing and coughing. My friend's baby in the stroller will indeed be quite safe if she remains in her stroller, especially if mom throws a sheer scarf over it to discourage strangers from peering in at her baby.

And here's another thing. Right now, the "novel flu" virus is no more serious that your regular flu. It doesn't kill any more people than the regular flu does, and I don't get vaccines for that, either. I am pregnant, and my OB and pediatrician both agree that he is not seeing anything in the material he gets from the CDC or WHO to recommend that his patients get the vaccine for the novel flu if they aren't getting one for the regular flu. Medical language is scary to lay-people, but the fact is that this pandemic is not something to be terrified of. This is, frankly, one of the nicest pandemics we could get.

What I AM going to do is wash my hands more in the winter. I will wear my gloves all the time to enter schools and malls, and I won't wipe my gloves on my face. If I know someone is sick, I usually try not to see that person, even for several days after they are well.

Now, with my 3 year old son starting a Pre-K program at our local elementary school, you can bet that I just went out bought some hand sanitizer and will be using it every day when I put him in the car to pick him from school. Yes, this is coming from someone who rarely uses anti-bacterial soap, and washes her dishes with regular soap and warm water by hand. The fact is that schools are breeding grounds for ALL viral infections, and when I ran a health center for five years, it was the parents of school-age kids who got sick the most often. I personally would like to avoid that. I rarely got sick as a kid, and that continues as an adult, but still: I recognize that sometimes a little extra care is all that is needed. Baths for kids right after school, instead of at night-time, are not a bad idea either. Wash your hands before you cook or eat, and make sure your kids do, too.

Other things I am investing in are basic health supplements for the family. Think preventative care. Zinc, selenium and vitamin C in the diet all help the immune system stay strong, as do B vitamins and good nutrition in general. School age kids can benefit from a daily chewable vitamin, as well as some extra vitamin C during cold season. A chewable C with extra zinc can help knock out colds in their early stages. And when all else fails, I always have very good results from Hyland's cold formulas (especially "sniffles & sneezes for kids" and their cough syrup) and Olbas cough syrup...

Well. That is enough on that topic! As a mother, of course it has been on my mind. Even more so since I am pregnant, and the media is really going out of their way to strike fear into our preggo hearts. "There is nothing to fear, except fear itself." A little common sense and extra hygeine can go a long a way during cold & flu season.